To create, edit, and watch digital movies on Windows 7, you need to download Windows Live Movie Maker. windows live movie maker, a stripped down version of the movie editing program that comes with xp and vista, works best for creating short videos.
Download Movie Maker from the Microsoft Live Essentials website. you also need windows live photo gallery to import the movies from your camcorder.
To make a movie, you follow three basic steps:
For some reason, windows live movie maker can’t import your video from your camcorder. instead, you need to import it through the windows live photo gallery.
This step combines your video clips, music, and images into a structured movie. edit each clip to its best moments and add transitions between clips, the same way one clip fades into the next. also add a soundtrack.
When you’re done editing, Movie Maker combines your batch of clips or photos into a complete movie, ready to play on your computer or save to DVD.
creating movies requires a lot of free space on your hard drive. a 15 minute movie can consume 2.5 GB. If the movie maker complains about space, he has two options: create smaller videos or upgrade his computer with a second hard drive.
step 1: import videos, images and music
If you’ve already imported footage from a digital camcorder, skip ahead to step 4 in the steps in this section and start there. you are several steps ahead of the rest.
but if you’re importing video from a digital camcorder, you may have to work a little harder. Before the movie maker can edit the video from his digital camcorder, he must copy the footage to his computer via a cable. Most digital camcorders connect to a computer’s firewire or usb 2.0 port. (Firewire ports, also known as IEEE 1394 ports, work best.)
When importing video via firewire (ieee 1394), you only need to connect a single cable between the camcorder and the firewire port. with that single cable, windows 7 takes the sound and video, and controls the camera.
To copy digital video to your computer, follow these steps:
download and install windows live photo gallery, described earlier in this chapter. connect your digital camcorder to your computer, open windows live photo gallery, click the file button and choose import from camera or scanner.
If this is the first time you’ve connected your digital camcorder, Windows 7 should immediately recognize it. To grab the attention of windows 7, change your camcorder to the setting where it plays, not records, video. (some camcorders label that setting as vcr.)
choose your camera icon in the photo and video import window. then click import.
enter a name for your video, choose how to import the footage, and click next.
First, name the incoming video after the event you shot, whether it’s a vacation, a wedding, or a visit to a skateboard park. then choose one of the three ways that windows 7 offers to import the video to your videos folder:
Import Entire Video: This option imports the entire video on your tape, dividing each shot into a separate segment. the best option, this allows you to capture the good shots for your finished product and leave the rest on the cutting room floor.
choose parts of the video to import: choose this laborious option to import only some parts of the tape. windows 7 displays a playback window with on-screen controls. fast-forward to the section you want, click the import button to record the desired snippet, and then click the stop button. repeat until you’ve gathered other shots you want, and then click finish.
burn entire video to dvd: select this option to copy the entire video, unedited, to dvd. while convenient, this forces your audience to watch everything you’ve shot, even the terribly boring parts.
Let your computer run smoothly while shooting videos, as it needs a lot of processing power to get smooth captures. do not work with other programs or surf the web.
windows 7 saves your video to your video library, visible when you click the windows explorer icon on the taskbar:
open windows movie maker live if it is not already running.
To invoke movie maker live, click the start menu, point to all programs, point to windows live, and select windows live movie maker.
gather the videos, images, and music you want to include in your video.
the movie maker live menu allows you to add a few things:
add videos and photos: click this button, select the videos you want from your video library and then click open: the selected videos will appear in the right pane of windows live movie maker. repeat the process to add photos from your image library.
add music: click the add button in the soundtracks section to add any music file from your music library.
add title, subtitles, and credits: These three buttons add a blank screen for you to type words, making your movies look more professional.
every item you add appears immediately in the right pane. If you add items by mistake, click on them and click the delete button. (which only removes the items from the list, it doesn’t remove the originals).
At the end of this step, the right side of Movie Maker Live will have all the video, photos, and music you need to put together your movie. in the next step, editing your movie, you start combining them all into a finished work.
step 2: edit your movie
at this step, you are done, if you wish. the program stitches the clips, photos, and songs together in the order you added them and creates a movie. click the play button, the blue triangle at the bottom, to watch it.
However, if you’re feeling creative and have some time, edit your movie in any of the following ways:
change playback order: drag clips and photos to different positions in the right panel, changing when they will play.
eliminate bad shots or photos: detect an unstable camera angle or a blurry photo? right-click the element and choose delete.
add text: your title, subtitles and credits appear as black squares. click one and start typing to add the information you want to see on the screen.
trim clips: to trim a specific clip, click on it, choose edit from the menu and click trim. when a bar appears at each end of the blue timeline, start trimming: slide the bars from the front to trim the beginning; slide back bar in to trim end. satisfied? click save and close.
add visual effects: these change the colors of your video or photos. use them sparingly.
add animations: animations, also known as transitions, dictate how shots flow into one another. to add one, click animations. hover your mouse pointer over a transition to see a preview of how the current clip will flow into the next. when you find one you like, click it to add it to your movie.
don’t worry that your edits will damage your original video. you’re only working with one copy and you still have the master copies in your video library.
While you’re working, feel free to play your movie at any time. just click the play button in the preview window. also, hover your mouse pointer over any confusing buttons or icons; windows quickly explains the purpose of the button or shows you how the effect alters your movie.
step 3: save your edited movie
When you’re done editing your clips into a movie, click any icon in the share section of the movie maker toolbar. the program can save or load your movie in any of these formats:
youtube: click this icon to log in to your youtube account and post your final movie for the world to see:
high definition (1080p): choose this if you want to watch the movie only on HDTVs:
dvd: This option saves your movie as a wmv file and then loads the file into the windows dvd authoring program to finish the dvd creation process:
high definition (720p): this saves the movie in a lower quality high definition format:
Widescreen (480p): Choose this to play the movie on a widescreen TV:
Standard Definition: This option works well for viewing on older TVs:
portable device or mobile phone: This option creates a small file to play on portable devices such as the zune or mobile phones. (the program cannot save videos in a format to play them on an ipod):
Email or Instant Messaging: This option creates a small, low-quality movie that can be sent via email:
after you choose an option, type a name, and click save, windows creates your movie and chooses the appropriate file size and quality for the destination you choose.
Publishing movies can take a long time. windows needs to organize all your clips, create the transitions and soundtracks, and compress everything into a single file.